No job on earth is all sunshine and rainbows. Motherhood, like any other responsibility or profession, has its pros and cons. If you heard a doctor say, “You know what I love interacting with patients but despise washing my hands 500 times a day.” You wouldn’t jump to the conclusion she was in the wrong profession regardless of the years of training and hard-work to do something she truly loves. Not loving everything about motherhood doesn’t undermine your ability to be a good mother.
It’s important to acknowledge that feelings are not good or bad, right or wrong. In fact, we are more likely to be emotionally healthy when we experience a wide range of emotions, too much of one or bottling up others leads to psychological problems. When we understand that motherhood encompasses a wide range of emotions and all those feelings are a part of it, we are less likely to categorize emotions with unhelpful labels. Feeling frustrated and annoyed doesn’t make us selfish. Being worried, overwhelmed, and insecure doesn’t mean we are not capable. Feeling valued, loved, and confident isn’t the only way to feel good about the job we do as mothers.
Thanks to valuable research on shame, we understand it better than ever before. We have a better way of verbalizing our feeling of shame and can identify the role shame plays in our lives. When we talk about not feeling good enough as a mother, or not enjoying motherhood, we are talking about shame. When we assess how we feel and take time to listen to what those emotions are without judgement, we can identify the shame we feel and recognize how to process and move past it in our lives. Being able to collaborate with other moms, or our spouse, really any member of our support system can help create a perspective you are not alone, you are not the only one struggling.
Feeling like you shouldn’t be a mom, or your kids would be better off without you as their mom can be a symptom involving perinatal mood disorders or depression. Feeling this way is sensitive and can provoke feelings of hopelessness in all of us. If as you read through the ways to change this perspective and you still feel like that isn’t enough for you. Or you can’t think of how you would do that in your own life and circumstances, you may want to look into receiving some therapeutic help.
Utilize Your Resources
Once we have recognized our emotion and examined our perceptive we can turn to resources to help us cope with the harder aspects of motherhood.
Take time to do the things that recharge and refuel you as well as your kids. If your mind is drawing a blank, start by thinking about the things you enjoy and tweak them as needed for your kids’ ages. Have a long list of things you and your kids enjoy doing. Simple around the house ideas. It can be a good idea to expand that list to simple outing types of things too. The more ideas you have, the easier it is to find the fit you need. I worked with a mom that loved to swing with her kids in their backyard. As her kids grew into adolescence, they would still go and swing with her. It became an easy a way to connect. Many moms have used reading a good chapter book with older children as something to look forward to at the end of the day. For me and my kids a 15minute game of hide-and-go-seek can be a game changer. I have come to realize these kind of breaks are important for me to stay present and work towards being the mom I want to be. Use these activities as breaks, use them to refuel you. Use your energy to heal, recover, and to brace yourself for what’s ahead.
Be careful of what you compare yourself to. Our minds are a muscle designed to predict what is coming and does this through connecting patterns. Be careful of the pattern you create. When you start the day with, “ugh I don’t want to be doing this today, being a mom isn’t for me.” You can bet that beautiful muscle in our head will find all the ways to support that thought. From your mom fails, to negative emotions, you experience and classify as wrong or detrimental.
Decide what is really important to you and focus on that. If you like to have evidence to measure your progress, measure yourself on the qualities and tasks that are important to you. Cut out the nonsensical things. Don’t let these activities and characteristic creep in and be the things you beat yourself up about. My best doesn’t have to be your best.
Having a strong support system is a common dominator that strengthens us during emotionally difficult and stressful times. Whatever our reason for not liking motherhood, be it a difficult
child, our own emotional instability, life stress surrounding us, or conflict in your relationship, having a support system to lean on can be a valuable resource. This can help with tasks and responsibilities or lending a listening ear. Find your tribe and hang on tightly to them. If that isn’t available to you, find support in community resources. Crisis nurseries, support groups, find a nanny, join a facebook group, reach out to a church group of your faith.
Keep in Mind
Motherhood is something we hold in high esteem, and rightly so. Sometimes as mothers we can experience shame in varying degrees when our own experience and emotions don’t measure up to the standard motherhood holds in our hearts. When we acknowledge our own feelings good, bad and in between it does not mean we are any less fit for the job. By utilizing the resources our energy, focus and support can be. We can except those tougher times with more strength and courage.